Women Peacebuilders Leading Communal Change in Nigeria
In Northern Nigeria, there is a need for increased opportunities for and societal acceptance of women and youth’s role in peace and security to ensure that their needs and voices are represented in local security efforts.
Nafisah Muhammad Ado is a young woman from Ungogo Local Government Area (LGA) of Kano State in Northern Nigeria who founded, with other community members (all men), the Bachirawa Security and Development Association. The association tackles security issues in the Bachirawa ward which has seen a rise in armed robbery, petty thefts, drug abuse, rape, and an influx of refugees and displaced persons.
Nafisah is part of the women peacebuilders (WPBs) trained by Equal Access International (EAI) under the USG-funded Securing Nigerian Communities (SNC) project in Nigeria. EAI works with WPBs in four SNC project states (Benue, Kaduna, Plateau, and Kano) and the women are expected to be leading change makers, influencers, and advocates on the role of women and youth issues in promoting security in their communities.
“Having attended several trainings organized by Equal Access International focusing on Women and Youth Inclusion in peace and security structures and having been grounded in United Nations Security Council Resolution 1325 (UNSCR1325) I was able to persuade my ward head (Bachirawa ward) to allow for the formation of a security committee (there wasn’t any prior to this) that will tackle the issue of insecurity in the area.”
The association, under the leadership of Nafisah, was able to champion and set up a vigilante group and open an office in the area. This has significantly helped curb threats of insecurity and criminal activities in the ward and increased communities’ trust in the association. Community buy-in of this initiative has helped contribute a vehicle, cash donations, and three years of office rent paid in advance.
Nafisah has become a household name in her community and a point of reference on issues of peace and security. Her passion, zeal, and commitment towards securing her community led to her appointment as “Advisor, to the member representing Ungogo / Minjibir Federal Constituency, on Women, Peace, and Security”.
Nafisah is in talks with a neighboring ward to set up a similar local security architecture in their community.